Become an independent learner; learn what you want to learn when you want to learn it!
At TOPS we believe that not all of the learning you'll do in life will happen in the classroom. The New York Times proclaimed 2012 "The Year of the MOOC" because so many universities and startups began offering courses for free or for very low prices. Many started asking if this would revolutionize education. We don't know if it will revolution education as a whole, but we do see the proliferation of these courses as a great opportunity of which students must take advantage. Please read the FAQ below and see the MOOCs that TOPS students are taking right now.
What's a MOOC?
Massive Open Online Course
MOOCs are online courses that are generally free to the public. They exist so that people can learn almost anything on their own time. Many adults use them as a cost-effective way to continue their education past high school or college. Some colleges even accept some for credit.
Why MOOCs at TOPS?
TOPS is giving students the opportunity to take one MOOC a semester because we feel that they will become a mainstream means of education in the future. We want you to become familiar with them and discover all that is out there. Most importantly, we want you to learn what you want to learn. Since TOPS only requires the minimum graduation requirements set by the state, we have flexibility in our schedule for students to truly take control of their learning and choose an extra course each semester that they want to take. Our hope is that you will fall in love with this type of learning and take all the MOOCs you can handle.
But I'm not getting a credit for this class?
You are not getting credit on your transcript for a specific MOOC, but any MOOC you complete can be added to your resume which will look really impressive on a college application. Additionally, the most important part of this is that you're learning, and you're doing it in an environment where you don't have to worry about your GPA. You can really challenge yourself here without worrying about any negative repercussions. Hopefully you will find this liberating.
Can I take my other TOPS credits as MOOCs?
No. You have to take your required classes through TOPS.
What if I have four TOPS classes?
Then your MOOC requirements are suspended. You only have to do them if you're only enrolled in three TOPS courses.
Where do I find MOOCs?
This is a good starting place but you can find one on your own by doing a Google search. If you already know what you'd like to learn, you should search for a MOOC on that topic. For example, if you're into Music Production, you might look for a MOOC on the basics on that. Or if you're really into computer programming, you might look for a MOOC on that topic. If you don't know what you'd like to learn, you should browse the different MOOC sites until you find something.
How do I prove that I've done the MOOC?
Most MOOCs will send you a certificate of completion or a badge. There will be a place in the December and May modules to upload those. Most MOOCs only last four to six weeks, so you have plenty of time to get this done during the semester. These are not taught by TOPS teachers, so nobody will be checking up on you. It is your responsibility to complete your MOOC on time.
What if I don't do this?
Then you won't receive a passing grade for the capstone course. This could put you on Academic Probation.